EIA updates bioenergy forecasts, predicts increase in capacity

By Erin Voegele | December 12, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the December edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook on Dec. 11 predicting nonhydropower renewables will provide 10 percent of total U.S. utility-scale power generation in 2019, increasing to 12 percent in 2020.

Biomass is expected to be used by the electric power sector to generate 28.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of power this year, falling to 26.5 billion kWh in 2020. That includes 15.9 billion kWh from waste biomass in 2019, falling to 15.3 billion kWh in 2020, and 12.3 billion kWh from wood biomass in 2019 falling to 11.3 billion kWh in 2020.

Across other sectors, biomass is expected to be used to generate 30 million kWh this year, including 2.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 27.1 billion kWh from wood biomass. In 2020, biomass generation is expected to increase to 30.1 billion kWh, including 2.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 27.1 billion kWh from wood biomass.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.238 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.227 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.194 quad of wood biomass in 2019, falling to 0.175 quad in 2020.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.16 quad of waste biomass this year, falling slightly to 0.159 quad in 2020. The sector is also expected to consume 1.468 quad of wood biomass in 2019, falling to 1.382 quad next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.039 quad of waste biomass in 2019, increasing to 0.4 quad in 2020. The sector is also expected to consume 0.84 quad of wood biomass in both 2019 and 2020.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.526 quad of wood biomass in 2019. That level of consumption is expected to be maintained into 2020.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption is expected to reach 0.437 quad this year, falling to 0.426 quad next year. Wood biomass consumption is expected to reach 2.272 quad in 2019, falling to 2.166 quad in 2020.

Biomass generating capacity in the electric power sector is expected to reach 6,946 MW by the ending of 2019, including 4,099 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,847 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total biomass capacity for the sector is expected to increase to 6,957 MW by the end of 2020, including 4,068 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, total biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,523 MW by the end of this year, including 848 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,675 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase to 6,567 MW by the end of next year, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,705 MW of wood biomass capacity.